On July 3rd, Dreweatts Bloombury is selling some plates from a 250-copy run of a book by Henri Matisse published at the end of his career during their prints and multiples sale in London. Given the success of the Tate Modern show of Matisse’s cut-outs, there should be interest in these works at this accessible level:
Taking inspiration from the circus he used a pair of scissors to cut lively shapes from brightly coloured gouache-painted paper creating a series of paper cut-outs, papier decoupés, which were published in Jazz, 1947, a limited-edition book containing colour pochoirs of the paper cut collages, accompanied by his written thoughts. Widely regarded as the most important artist’s book of the 20th Century, it is scarce that individual plates from Jazz, such as these, should appear at auction.
A union between drawing and colour, Matisse called this dynamic style “painting with scissors”.
The combination of vivid colours with abstract and figurative subject matter evokes a glorious celebration of life against adversity. These highly sought after Jazz prints echo today as one of the most beautiful and ground-breaking series of 20thcentury art.